Acute pancreatitis may be the first manifestation of pancreatic cancer. The aim of this study was to assess the risk of pancreatic cancer after a first episode of acute pancreatitis.Methods
Between March 2004 and March 2007, all consecutive patients with a first episode of acute pancreatitis were prospectively registered. Follow-up was based on hospital records audit, radiological imaging, and patient questionnaires. Outcome was stratified based on the development of chronic pancreatitis.Results
We included 731 patients. The median follow-up time was 55 months. Progression to chronic pancreatitis was diagnosed in 51 patients (7.0%). In this group, the incidence rate per 1000 person-years for developing pancreatic cancer was 9.0 (95% confidence interval, 2.3–35.7). In the group of 680 patients who did not develop chronic pancreatitis, the incidence rate per 1000 person-years for developing pancreatic cancer in this group was 1.1 (95% confidence interval, 0.3–3.3). Hence, the rate ratio of pancreatic cancer was almost 9 times higher in patients who developed chronic pancreatitis compared with those who did not (P = 0.049).Conclusions
Although a first episode of acute pancreatitis may be related to pancreatic cancer, this risk is mainly present in patients who progress to chronic pancreatitis.